Germany-based MädchenFlohmarkt has filed for bankruptcy, after sellers complained of late or non-payment from the fashion resale site.

Proceedings have begun at Stuttgart’s district court, which has appointed Ilkin Bananyarli, partner in commercial law firm Pluta, as provisional insolvency administrator, according to a report on WirtschaftsWoche. Startup portal Gründerszene adds that the public prosecutor’s office in the city is investigating whether any crimes have been committed.

Complaints about MädchenFlohmarkt — on which users sold secondhand clothing, bags, shoes and accessories — had been building up over the last few months. Sellers said they had been left waiting for payment for weeks or months.

On 1 June, Germany’s consumer advice center warned sellers against using the marketplace.

“Since the beginning of 2023, complaints about MädchenFlohmarkt have been increasing at the consumer advice center,” it wrote on its website. “Consumers report that they did not receive any money for the goods sold — or had to wait a long time for it.”

The center added that no money seemed to have been paid out since the end of January, and that the platform had received unfavorable reviews on rating platforms.

“The assumption is obvious that MädchenFlohmarkt is in financial difficulties. It is therefore not certain whether there is still money available at MädchenFlohmarkt,” it went on.

“Unless it has been clarified whether customers are still getting money at all and whether there are many outstanding payments, the consumer advice centers advise against selling any further products via the online portal.”

A week later, Germany-based retailer About You announced that it was ending its year-three collaboration with the Stuttgart-based startup and was removing the latter’s products from its “Second Love” category.

MädchenFlohmarkt had previously told RTL that it “guarantee[d] that we pay all of our sellers their proceeds in full. We are currently taking more time than we and our salespeople would like to make the payments — we are sorry. The following applies: in no case has there been a loss of payments and there will not be in the future either.”

MädchenFlohmarkt — which means Girls’ Flea Market — charged commission of 10 percent for items posted and shipped by sellers themselves. It also offered a “concierge service,” with items dispatched by the company, for which it retained 40 percent, or at least €14, of sales worth up to €50, and 30 percent of sales worth over €50.

The AIM Group has contacted MädchenFlohmarkt to seek comment and will update this story if we receive a response.

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